Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Snow, and Peter Kubelka.
“In the trenches”: Michael Robinson. Plenty are trailing, though.
Godard when he’s not making films
Greatest living and working directors—
This is nearly impossible…. No sense listing a dozens directors that deserve to be mentioned (they all have been anyways) so I will completely subjectively say Terrence Malick. Bela Tarr and Herzog are up on my list too.
Let me just say Tsai Ming Liang or Jia Zhangke
And I am in Jean-Luc Godard’s camp.
I think only time will tell about the true importance /greatness/ of the younger talented directors.
Raul Ruiz is dead, guys, sorry. If that were allowed, I too would nominate Carl Dreyer. But one director who is both alive and happens to be at the peak of his exceptional powers is Jia Zhangke: The World and 24 City were two of the best films of the previous decade.
And he makes Wong Kar-Wai seem like such a child.
Terrence Malick is both alive and still as significant as ever, which I can’t say for Scorsese or Coppola or Spielberg or De Palma or Lynch or Herzog (although I like Herzog’s recent docs)
PT Anderson we still have to see about. TWBB was a turning point for him I believe, so after a couple more movies I think we’ll be better able to assess him. On the basis of his to-date output, though, I can’t call him one of the best (TWBB is great, Boogie Nights is probably less than the sum of its parts, as much as I love those parts… and the other three I don’t give much thought to)
I would say Lynch, but Inland Empire and his recent musical forays have me doubting him. Zhang Yimou has been consistent throughout the years and I’ve loved all his films. But my vote would have to go to the Coen Brothers. Their work is very reminiscent of the kind of Old Hollywood entertainment of quality that’s very reminiscent of someone like Howard Hawks.